phases of normal

Years ago the refrigerator was always open.  As was the pantry door, and usually the snack cabinet.  With three kids, and their waves of friends, someone was always hungry.

The grew up and for a while I kept things like stuffed olives and spinach bread in the refrigerator and we changed from kraft cheese blocks to artisanal offerings laid out on a bamboo cutting board with matching slicer.

Grandkids came  and we reopened the snack cabinet and laughed as subsequent 2 year olds made their way to the cheese balls and gushers…the pantry found itself loaded with teething biscuits and oddly orange cheese noodles.  Lucky to have all of our kids live within 10 minutes distance, we went through packing lunch for one of them to pick up on his way to work, setting two extra places at the table, just in case, and dropping coffee and protein boxes off to our daughters job.

We moved, only 30 minutes down the road, to a smaller house.  Not “on the way” to anyones normal destinations, and it took me a while to realize I didnt need to buy frozen waffles, oreo cookies or boxes of pizza.  Fruit snacks and yogurt sticks passed their expiration dates before they were tossed and I realized I missed feeding them all…

The nor’easter brought 3 snow days to our area.  We drove home from our beach place in case we were needed for emergency childcare.  Late yesterday afternoon the youngest came to pick up her 2 and headed for the kitchen.  “Wheres the leftover brisket?”  Her husband turned on the coffee pot and she pulled the provolone cheese from the refrigerator.  Today my son came to pick up his 2, said hello, went straight to the kitchen, opened the nacho chips and new jar of salsa, sat in his dads chair and enjoyed an afternoon snack.  I sat, amazed and humbled that they still know they are “home” when they walk in the door.  Doors slam, cupboards open and years of memories rush back.  Life is good.


keeping it real

Last night I watched one of those shows where they renovate a house.  This lady was moving to a new state to have her dad come live with her and her husband.  This state was half a country away from her original home.  So, anyway, they obviously had a ton of money and were renovating a beautiful big house, putting in handrails for dad, building him his own suite….adding great decorator touches to the whole home.  beautiful.

But, the lady kept going on about “I need a huge island so when the family comes to visit there will be room for us to gather around the island”  She went on and on about how when the “whole” family is here it will be so relaxing and so family…..Sunday breakfasts and chats on the back porch….

I was like, whoa mom, wake up!  Those young men you raised are not planning on jumping on a plane every weekend and having breakfast with the rents….All those cousins and siblings and extended family members are staying put — your’e the one leaving, setting up shop half a country away.

Cynical much? maybe.  Realistic?  yah.  Of course I may be wrong, but I just kind of felt sorry for her, she was building this huge home with the expectation that they all would have home time like when she was living nearby…..I doubt it.

weight of the world…

This week has been rough … ( understatement, I know ) on many levels.  Nationally, the tragedy in Florida sucks the air out of me.

Personally, issues with my mom, my grandchildren…cause me to ache to be able to do more, to fix, to be present everywhere, all the time…

Physically I made it to the gym once.  Not good.  need to be there at least 3 times a week.

And, it is still February.


Note to self…

Things to NEVER do AGAIN

#1.  Drive husband home, 11 days after back surgery, in a snow storm.  A freakin blizzard like, ice, snow, hail   snow storm.

#2.  Run out of tequilla after #1.


UGGHHH…I hate February.

As far as Im concerned the only two good things that ever happened in February are the births of two of my grandchildren…. and seriously both of them could have waited a couple days…..March is so much more hopeful.

This weather, the dark, stores full of grumpy people.  My husband pouting over whatever has him pissed off at the moment.

I hate February.

Oh for goodness sake…

Husband had back surgery Tuesday.  Recouping at home, fairly steady improvement so far but I have had some trouble getting him to get off the chair and walk….or move….

Left him for an hour today to get him some medicine and Valentines Gifts for the grandbabies.  Come home to find him hanging out the front door, in pajamas and robe no less, in the rain, holding a conversation with some kid ( ok, young man) holding an umbrella and cell phone.  As I leave the car Im like “can I help you?” to which this kid starts with “yes, Ms. L Im here to schedule an appointment…” and husband starts in with ” Im gonna get him to give us a price on 5 windows. ” I’m like

“WHOA!  You, get your butt in the house, its raining and you had BACK surgery 4 days ago.”


“YOU– goodbye.  We are not standing in the rain with an unsolicited salesman discussing windows”.

Husband knows the look on my face and shuts the door.  This simple kid makes a call to the “office” and is trying to get me to set up an appointment.  Then he asks if he can help me carry my packages in.  Uh NO.  It took me no less than 5 minutes to get this child to head back down the sidewalk.

At which point I grab my 7 candy hearts, 5 stuffed animals and 2 lego minis and stumble up the steps.  My husband had locked the door.  Both locks.  No way this guy was getting in.  Or me.

Found the key and got in the house, soaking wet to have him announce:  “you dont trust anybody.  charities that call the house, people who knock on the door, you dont trust anybody.”  I about fell out.

Time to cut him back on his meds I think.

I should be…

at the beach.  There is work to be done at the beach house — pipes burst, removation is just beginning….

But I am where I am supposed to be.  Sitting on the couch watching Rio with my 4 year old grandson, home sick with a nasty cold.  Worrying about my youngest who is on her way to get an ultrasound before they schedule surgery.  Stressing over my husband’s upcoming surgery on his back  — grateful that my doctor appt. yesterday went well.  Wondering how I will supervise the reconstruction of our beach house, care for my husband after surgery and how I am going to help my daughter get two boys to school and home again and care for her after her surgery.  REALLY glad I retired because 2018 would have gotten me fired !

24 hours…

yesterday at 7:25  am the phone rang.  Daughter in law had locked her and granddaughter out of house, and car.  Ran up there — slippers and all , let her in and took sweet granddaughter to her aunts house to catch the school bus.  Put all 3 kids in my car and discussed mermaid pillows and the woes of Monday.

noon.  The phone rings.  Son asking if I can pick said granddaughter up at the bus stop at 4.  Daughter in law is in a meeting until 4.  Of course.  did the grocery shopping, finished the bills, watched ten minutes of news….headed to the bus.  Spent a few minutes with oldest daughter, discussing dinosaurs with 3 year old half dressed grandson ( this child hates shirts) and watching her dog steal socks from the laundry basket and eat duplos. walked up to the bus stop, gathered the three of them off the bus, chatted about recess antics and bus aides and let them back to the house.  Grabbed a pizza left over from birthday party to take to son’s house, buckled granddaughter into car and drove her home.  Son and daughter in law and youngest grandson were already there — spent a few minutes discussing “whats that” with the baby.

5:30.  Meet youngest daughter and son in law for dinner ( kids eat free on Mondays!) both grandsons wired up — the older ( all of 6 years old ) celebrating his first wrestling tournament ( took second) and the younger (4) excited to be at a restaurant with macaroni and cheese AND ice cream.

8:00 pm.  Hit the couch.  Blessed with the realization that I saw, hugged and talked to all 7 grandchildren in one day!


7:20 am. : Standing, half asleep, in front of the coffee pot..  phone wakes me.  Son asking if  I can pick up granddaughter and take her to aunts to get the bus.  Uh, no.  I could get her and take her to school, but no way I can get dressed and get to her and get her there by bus time….”Its ok mom, we will figure it out”.

7:24 am.  Phone rings.  Youngest daughter.  her youngest is up coughing all night…can I watch him?  Can I take him to doctor?  Of course, bring him to me…….


Whew.  This is pretty much why I retired — to help with the kids in Winter.  But, Lord, what a 24 hours!

The search for normal

We drive our grandkids to the boardwalk.  Lights and rides and cheap stuffed animals surround us — then a young man runs out of a storefront — “Stay the F— out of my store, you hear?”

We search for normal.

We sit poolside, toucan floats and cheesy pizza at our side.  I check twitter, only to learn of another shooting in our home town.

We reach for normal.

We run to the ocean edge, scooping shells and searching for sand crabs for bait.  I hear an elderly couple speaking of the newest health care changes being considered.

We yearn for normal.

I can not help but worry that my grandchildren, aged 8 to 2, will never really understand this normal that I look for.  They are growing up without peaches with a quarter inch of fuzz, without open doors and barbecues.  They hear of shootings and presidential “tweets”.  Will they be able to sit on their front step, a half hour before sunrise and smell that sweet morning nectar, see the golden rays jump up behind the neighbors house?  More and more I doubt it.  And more and more I search for pieces of light to share with them, pictures and memories of days gone by when the ocean was clean, the rivers and creeks safe to swim in, woods were for exploring and friends spent the night.

I cry for normal.